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This article reviews the types of passivity and presents tactics that employ passivity to control corrosion. Thermodynamics provides a guide to the conditions under which passivation becomes possible. A valuable guide to thermodynamics is the potential-pH diagram and the Pourbaix diagram. The article presents a potential-pH diagram for the iron-water system and an illustration of an idealized anodic polarization curve for a metal surface, which serves as a basis for describing the kinetics of passivation. It discusses five properties of passive films: thickness, composition, structure, electronic properties, and mechanical properties. The article outlines three possible processes that can form passive films: direct film formation, dissolution precipitation, and anodic oxidation of metal ions in solution. It describes the breakdown of the passive film using various models and highlighting the effect of alloy composition and structure.

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